A Survival Kit For Your Very Own 3-Year-Old Monkey-Demon


The Howling Monkey-Demon At Play
“Ha ha ha, those terrible twos,” they said.

A lie. A CRUEL AND CALLOUS LIE.

Sure, you have a two year old and you think, jeez, what happened to this kid. You had an adorable little marshmallow running around gooble-gobbling, and then one day things changed and out of nowhere you had this irritable little creature — like he had sand in the elastic of his diaper always turning him surly. But you think: I only have a year of this. They call this the Terrible Twos, so I just have to weather the storm for one year. One. Year.

The only way through is out, you think.

You breathe a sigh of relief and lay your head down to sleep, assured that This Is Only Temporary.

YOU FOOLS.

This is the moment where I light a red road flare in a dark room and when the crimson glow illuminates the space, you see that monstrous toddlers are all around us. Crawling up the walls, hissing. Black cricket eyes hungry for your soul. Little claws tickety-click-clicking on wet stone. Squalling, shrieking, whining. SWARMING.

This is the moment where I tell you that I AM FROM YOUR FUTURE, and that the Terrible Twos are not — I repeat, not — the end. Oh, no, dear parent. I am here to warn you:

The Terrible Twos are only the beginning.

The Terrible Twos are just the chrysalis. The child’s body was just a preparation for an ancient, infernal monkey-demon slumbering in his tiny heart. Now the cocoon has been shed and your very own monkey-demon — who looks a little like you and who is now learning to communicate with its human keepers — is loose in your home.

The Terrible Twos?

*scoffs*

These are the Terrible Threes. Er, the Therrible Threes? The Threatening, Thunderous, Thrashing Threes? Maybe the ‘That Used To Be A Human Child But Now It Is An Implacable Monkey-Demon Who Hungers For Chaos” Threes. WHATEVER. I’ve heard them called “Threenagers,” because this age is like a porthole window into the teenage years of the child, but taxonomically that’s false, since three-year-olds are monkey-demons and teenagers are mopey asshole-golems. Jesus, it’s like nobody ever read the D&D Monster Manual. Pssh. Pfft! HFFT.

Doesn’t matter. Point is, you’re going to need help.

I have prepared for you a survival kit.

*hands you survival kit*

*opens it*

1. Neck Brace

The monkey-demon’s mood will change so fast, you’ll get whiplash. It’s like watching ten different people crammed inside one tiny body. Happy about a puppy! Mad because it’s not the toddler’s puppy! Sad because some other shit you don’t even know about and can’t control! Inchoate petulance! Drunken glee! Surly silence! Earth-shattering, sky-rending fury!

2. Genital Protection Kit

I’ve layered the inside of a football helmet with a blown rubber Goodyear tire. No matter the orientation of your junk, you need to cover it up. Protect it — because the toddler will not. The toddler will headbutt your crotch. He will knee you. Shoulder you. Punt a Transformer into your most sensitive bits. He will attempt to use your junk drawer as a ladder to reach greater heights. Those greater heights probably include your head and face, which leads me to —

3. A Full Set Of Body Armor

Fuck it, you need more than just protection for your — *whistles, gestures around your nethermost regions* — because the hell-born chimpanzee sees your body as equal parts tackle dummy, jungle gym, and ziggurat of punishment. SWAT up. Hard exoskeleton. Boots so you don’t get a LEGO in your foot. Blast-shield so you don’t catch a Matchbox car in the eye. Anything that dangles? Swaddle it in extra protection. If that little horror show gets a hold of your nipples, she’ll spin them like the dials on a toaster oven. Envelop your flesh in a carapace of safety.

4. Bubble Wrap, Nerf, And Various Other Cushiony Material

You know what? Just cover your whole house up. Your child — and by “child,” I mean, “cackling snarlbadger” — is basically a clown car driven by drunken circus performers. The car has no brakes, the steering wheel just spins wildly on its axis, and it’s broadcasting warped calliope music. Your kid will go head-first into a pitchfork if you’re not careful. Bonus: covering your house protects your house, too. Double-bonus: it also stop all those slammed doors and flung-shut drawers from making noise. Triple-bonus: bubble wrap is fun for the whole family. So when your little snarlbadger takes a header into the TV stand, it’ll make a fun satisfying popcorn popping sound, and the toddler will come away with only the meagerest of head traumas.

5. Band-Aids (The Wrong Ones)

Here are Band-Aids. Your shrieking goblin will need them not because she actually wounds herself frequently (which she probably does) but because she will imagine wounds or demand bandages for the most insignificant injuries. Every scuff, papercut, hangnail or dirt-smudge is an apocalypse that requires a Band-Aid. In this case, the wrong Band-Aid because it’s always the wrong Band-Aid. You have Angry Birds bandages, and she wants Mickey Mouse. You finally go buy Mickey Mouse and suddenly she wants Spongebob. To your tot, Band-Aids are just stickers for injuries that don’t exist. The game is rigged. You cannot win. Enjoy your stupid Band-Aids.

6. Tranquilizer Gun And Darts

This? Special batch of my tranquilizer brew. It’s quaaludes, red wine, Thorazine, and smoked bacon because smoked bacon. Oh, hey, settle down — it’s not for the toddler. This is for you, silly. *fires the tranquilizer into your neck* You’ll thank me later.

7. A Recording Device

Oh! Good. You’re awake. See? Potent stuff. And a bacony aftertaste, am I right? Best hangover ever. Anyway. I have bad news — while you were out, your infernal leprechaun fled the premises, stole a cop car, drove it into a shopping mall, then was a real dick about all of it. Seriously, the police tried to arrest him, and he was all like, “NO, I’M ARRESTING YOU NOW,” and then he peed and ate the handcuff keys. He screamed “I’M NOT PEEING, YOU’RE PEEING. I WANT CHEETOS.” Thing is, nobody will ever believe you that these things happened. This is why in the kit you’ll find a recording device. When your own parents refuse to believe that your child acts like a devil-possessed hobo, now you’ll have proof. You’ll also have proof when they say really weird, really creepy shit. (Recent gems from our own monkey-demon: “You’re taking me to Canada.” “Metaphor and meta-fiend!” “I drink bone-water.” “The skull is coming!” “I’M IN YOUR EAR.”)

8. Noise-Cancelling Headphones

The sound of toddlers are how sane adults go mad. Lovecraft knew it. You need these.

9. The Distraction Grenade

I have filled this flimsy Ziploc baggy (okay, it’s off-brand, so it’s technically a “SipBloc bagie”) with a couple new toys, a handful of Cheezits, some shiny Canadian coins, a book of matches, a Visa GiftCard, and the keys to a home-made hovercraft parked in your driveway. This? This is your Distraction Grenade. When everything goes sideways — when there’s spaghetti hanging from the ceiling fan, when there’s underwear on fire in the oven, when the child has broken you down with his Hannibal Lecterian cruelty — rip the zip and chuck the bag into the other room. The little monster will go see and you will be afforded your escape! Go! Go now! While there’s still time!

10. A Hot Meal

Parents eat fewer hot meals than most homeless people. Every time you go to sit down, something else gets in the way — just as a hot bite of food hovers near your mouth, the squawking pit-gremlin that stole your genetic material has some other dubious need. More lemonade. Less milk. Chair too far from the table. Shoes too tight. Not enough puppies. Global warming. Existential ennui. The list mounts. Madness ensues. By the time you get back to the food, it’s got mold growing on it. So here. Have a hot meal. You can have another one in about two years.

11. A Secret Inflatable Panic Room

Baby needs a time-out? Nah, Mommy and Daddy need a time-out. Behold: YOUR OWN INFLATABLE BOUNCY CASTLE PANIC ROOM. It’s got all kinds of shit in it. TV. Emergency radio. Liquor cabinet. Various sexual lubricants — and, of course, protection, unless you’re interested in accidentally conjuring up another monkey-demon with your rumpy-pumpy-bumpy beast-with-two-backs sex-ritual. I mean, sure, while you’re in the panic room, you’ve basically ceded the rest of your territory to the squalling imp, but c’mon, you pretty much already did that anyway.

12. Facsimiles Of All The Important Things You Own

It’s ironic, really. Teens move into adulthood, looking for a way to make more money so they can have more stuff and bigger houses to store all their stuff (because as George Carlin wisely notes, a house is just a place for our stuff), and then we have kids and end up forfeiting all our hard-earned stuff to the keening, abrasive sirocco we created. It’s like: imagine that you bought a really nice car, and then you buy a wolverine, and then you lock the wolverine in your car. That’s parenthood. But — ah-ha! Solution: fake shit. Fake TV. Bullshit couch that looks like your couch but is really filled with old newspaper and wispy wads of cat hair. Your whole house can be a facsimile! So when your toddler shoves a rotten ham sandwich into your PS4, he’s really just mashing it into a old cardboard box painted to look like a PS4. #winning #blessed

13. A Time Machine

Boom. A red box with a black button. A time machine. Go back in time ten minutes. Toddler knocks over the aquarium, accidentally steps on Mr. Peepers, the goldfish? Time machine. You leave home and forget your monkey-demon’s most precious toy, which is actually just a bunch of paperclips shoved in a pencil eraser? Kapow, time machine. Didn’t realize that saying the combination of words “we’re having fishsticks for dinner” will cause your child such shivering paroxysmal rage that she throws a bubble mower through your new flatscreen TV? HEY LOOK EVERYBODY IT’S A TIME MACHINE. Of course every time you use it, it unravels another vital thread of the space-time universe, but if it gives you an advantage as a parent: WHO CARES.

14. The Backpack Potty

You carry this toilet on your back like a turtle. You need this with you because when your toddler needs to go? You will be 453 miles from the nearest bathroom. Or you’ll be near to a bathroom that looks like a meth addict lived and died there. This also comes with nose plugs and an industrial garbage bag, because for some reasons monkey-demons have the ability to manufacture poop that looks like it came from a 47-year-old overweight diabetic who just ate four microwave pizzas.

15. RFID Tracking Chip

At age two, the toddler wants to be near you. At age three? The monkey-demon is ascendant and wants nothing more than to flee, hide, escape heaven’s zoo and claim its independence. Turn your back for four seconds and your wee one will have dug himself a bunker in the woods and adopted a possum family as his own. Your child needs a tracking chip. Bonus: this one is like the tracking device in Aliens so you know when you’ve got a toddler in the heating vents. You can pretend you’re Ripley! “Game over, man. Game over!”

16. A Vial Of Holy Water

It won’t actually do anything besides convince you that God is either dead or is Himself a rampaging toddler throwing a literally-Biblical shit-show tantrum, but flecking your child with holy water will at least make you feel a little better. Bonus: hydration?

17. An Old Priest And A Young Priest

For when shit gets really real, you might need an old priest and a young priest to perform proper exorcism rites. (Seriously, go watch The Exorcist. If you are the parent of a rampaging three-year-old, you’ll be all like, “Uh, that kid’s not possessed, she’s just three. My kid says worse stuff than that. And she can projectile vomit like a boss.”) At the very least, even if the exorcism fails, maybe the old priest and the new priest can babysit for you. Just let them know that the old priest will probably die by the end of it. It’s totally cool; priests prepare for this inevitability.

18. Duct Tape

The quacking cacodemon you once thought as your child is an escape artist parallel to none. No earthly prison can contain it. No car seat, no booster seat, no locked door, no lead-lined suitcase. But duct tape? If you want proof of God, then I submit the notion that duct tape is our only true evidence of his presence. It is our only Holy Weapon against infernal toddler intrusion.

19. A Translation Device

Parents understand their own monkey-demons more than those unrelated by blood, but just the same, sometimes the little alien will jibber-jabber a stream of straight-up legit glossolalia and then get mad as fuck that you do not understand their mush-mouthed gabbling. “I think he wants a… lawnmower and a couple traveler’s cheques? Jeez, I really don’t know what he’s saying, honey, this kid is a total cipher.” And so, I give you: a translation device. They shriek their Babelian demonstongue into it. Actual human English comes out of it. Magic.

20. A Book Of Lies

The monkey-demon knows how to confound the pure of heart by asking one question over and over again: “WHY.” Why this? Why that? Why dog? Why cat? Why here? Why there? Why circle? Why square? It’s enough to make even Dr. Seuss foul his black-and-white-striped britches in rhyming rage. This book contains infinite lies. When the child asks you a question, just pull up a lie and go to town. “Because cats eat electrons. Because the sky is the barf from a bewildered giant. Because the Council of Mantisfolk met in the year 1743 and decreed it so to counter the Heresy of Lord Samsung the Incontinent.” Stun your child into silence!

21. An Oracle

I don’t know what your kid wants. You don’t know what your kid wants. Here, have an oracle. She’s blind and she huffs weird cave vapors and she’s probably your best bet to understanding what Pazuzu the monkey-demon actually wants.

22. A Portable Therapist

Toddlers know how to hurt you. I don’t mean physically, I mean — they know how to cut to your emotional core. They will whittle you down like a fucking apple. Just as you’re without sleep. You haven’t had a hot meal since a Bush was in the White House. Your home looks like an asylum for hoarders. And then your “child” says something so wildly cruel, it astounds you. “I don’t love you anymore.” “You’re the worst mother.” “I will kill you with a brick and dump your body in a river because that’s where you belong, you worthless little cricket. Also, those pants make you look fat, Daddy. You’re fat. Fatty-fatty-fat.” So please enjoy this therapist. His name is Dave.

23. Okay, No, That’s Not A Therapist

By now you’ve noticed that the “therapist” is really just a bottle of wine with googly eyes glued to it. Whatever, shut up, it works. Just drink it. Fortify yourself. Say hi to Dave for me.

24. A Book Full Of Vital Phone Numbers

You need these numbers. Poison control. Police. Fire department. EMS. All the good babysitters. All the bad ones. That lady who you’re pretty sure died in 2011 and actually now she’s just a wraith haunting the feral cat colony she calls a home (hey whatever, a babysitter is a babysitter). This is a special codex. With these phone numbers, you can help banish the archfiend that haunts your toddler. For a time. For a time.

25. A Crate Marked “Free Baby Otters”

This is the eject button, right here. It’s a crate. It’s marked FREE BABY OTTERS, which is not a command so much as it is an offer — a lie of an offer, a cruel deception, but whatever. Who doesn’t like otters? Here’s the trick: put the toddler in the box. Take the box to PetSmart. Leave it there. Hurry away. Someone is all like “HEY YO, HONEY, LOOK, A BOX OF OTTERS, YOU WERE JUST SAYING YOU WISH YOU HAD SOME OTTERS,” and then they open it and it’s like Pandora’s Box because the evil jumps out upon them and claims these unwitting fools as its parents.

That is the miracle of childbirth.

Enjoy your life free of the monkey-demon.

(OKAY FINE, nobody wants to actually be free of the monkey-demon. But man, three-year-olds are hella batshit — and hopefully, posts like these help you cope with them as much they help me to write them. Ours is full of light and joy and love as much as he is full of piss and razors and bees, but some days you just wanna find a laugh. So: to you parents of toddlers — past, present, future — hope you enjoyed the post. *clink*)


80 responses to “A Survival Kit For Your Very Own 3-Year-Old Monkey-Demon”

  1. I hate to be the one to tell you this, but at least for the child in our house, four was the age that we seriously considered hiring an exorcist. Two and three were cake. The good news is that five and six were pretty great too, and once they hit about seven, everything’s much easier because you can reason with them as well as or better than you can with most adults.

  2. There is a reason the toddler head-butts your crotch. It is contraception. The monkey-demon does not want you to produce newer, fresher, wilier monkey-demon as competition.

  3. This is so spot on. But Sheri and Ian are spot on, too. The Friggin’ Fours are just as bad, if not worse. Because the manipulative skills are more finely honed. As well as the muscles. And the independence. (She figured out how to open round doorknobs on her own!) We are on our second round of this. But yes, things get drastically better at five. And the best is 5-9. It seems to be going back downhill now for us with the first kid…

  4. Mine is 2.5, and already I’m considering self-committal. Or trepanning (me, not him.) Can I nominate the post for a Stoker award for Absolutely the Most Terrifying Way to Look At the Next Three Years?

  5. Threenagers. Oh my. That’s so accurate, it hurts.

    In June, mine turned into a Fivehole. Also known as: I Can Do EVERYTHING On My Own, Go Away, Who Even Needs You, I’m Getting An Apartment, I Hate You, Hold Me.

    We also have a teenage boy, which is like owning a raccoon. All day, you don’t see him or even think of him. Then you wake up in the morning and there are food wrappers strewn everywhere.

    • “We also have a teenage boy, which is like owning a raccoon. All day, you don’t see him or even think of him. Then you wake up in the morning and there are food wrappers strewn everywhere.”

      This has me literally LOLing.

      — c.

    • Oh my god, that is HILARIOUS!! Just seeing how my son eats – or, I should say, how MUCH he eats – at age six has me terrified at being able to keep the monster fed as a teenager!!

  6. Alisa is right. Those toddler years fall away into the rosey, out-of-focus, “remember when he puked on your white shirt?” musings. You will remember them fondly, because when that toddler becomes a teenager, you will be considered an all-knowing moron. Remember when you were cool? Yeah…sorry…gone.

  7. You are in big trouble when he learns to read. And even more trouble when he learns to write. He will write something like “Shit my Dad Says” and you will be a haunted laughingstock shell of your former self. P.s. mine is 25 and gets worse every year. My name will be disguised, right?

  8. As a woman closing in on 30 and my baby making years dwindling… Why again do I want to have children??? I mean… Monsters???

    • Because even though we talk about the parenting trenches this way, the truth is having a child is the most wonderful thing you can ever do. These years, poop and pee, projectile vomit, tantrums and all are the happiest, most fulfilling years of my life. If I could have had 5 kids I would have, but my body said no after two and I kept losing my pregnancies. For every tantrum and smearing jello on the wall moment, you will have a hundred sweet little moments when they say they love you, when they sleep in your arms, when they tell you that you are the best mommy in the world, when they inspire you and when you become a better person for being their mom. I had my first at 34 and my second at 37. You still have baby making years left. I am far more blessed by my children than they are by me, even though I’m the one doing the giving and care taking.

      • THIS. Because it is worth it!!!

        And because then you get to tell awesome stories about them to your friends – and to total strangers, if you decide to share it on the interwebz 😉

  9. I laughed till I cried because, you know, *I HAD TWINS* They tag-teamed me. You know those peaceful moments when they are content to play with a toy and baby talk cute enough to make you forget why you wanted your tubes tied? Never had those. One was always in full Godzilla mode at any time.

    And escape artists? Imagine being in a grocery parking lot maneuvering a cart loaded with 500 lbs of food and having one kid go north while the other went south. NEVER the same direction. I finally resorted to harnesses, which earned me snide comments from teenagers about keeping my kids on leashes like dogs. I’d just look at them and think, “Just you wait.”

  10. Teenager. This is the horrible word which strikes parents everywhere with abject, unrecoverable insanity, making them listlessly pine for the monkey-demon days as if that long-ago time was a an easy walk through a candy-festooned dream.

  11. Couldn’t be more timely. Two hours ago I made an emergency doctor appointment for mine, thinking he must have some raging ear infection that he won’t admit to. Randomly headbutting things and punching innocent people in the neck just can’t be normal. Right?

    …right?

  12. I loved this post, so funny and so true.

    Just… try to resist uttering the ultimate parental curse, and passing it all on to the next generation:
    “When you grow up, I hope you have a kid just like you.”

  13. I had started laughing before the end of the first sentence. Having spent 12 years teaching 3-5 yr olds (AND living through my own kid!) I’ve always laughed heartily at people talking about the terrible twos. Three, three is soul leaching, oh-my-god-my-kid-is-going-to-rule-the-world-as-an-evil-despot times. Three is “I KNOW I can do that, and you’re just saying I can’t. So now I must prove to the world my will is stronger.” Four, pfffft, four is easy. Five you have no longer any knowledge worth knowing unless you are their kindergarten teacher (thank god I moved into the independent kindergarten – at least SOME kids think I know something, even if my own didn’t) and I can’t speak to the teen years because right now we’re considering whether the 10 yr old will make it to teen years…. (ok, he WILL, but sometimes…..) But three. Three can be brutal man.

  14. Pro tip — y’all should use that time machine to peek ahead at 2015-Chuck, 2016-Chuck, not to mention 2026-Chuck. (If you can find out which asylum he’s been locked in.)

  15. It’s not just the age. Factor in the number of kids. The theory: Amount of trouble in your house = (#kids) squared. The friend that came up with this had 16 units of trouble in his house. I think he’s on to something profound.

  16. You are so right. When my boys were two, they were a terror but it was an innocent terror; they simply didn’t understand their limits. When they turned three, their wrongdoings became premeditated. “Will dad punish me EVERY TIME? Let’s see!”

    My kids are in high school and college now. The bodies of men, all brilliant, yet the self-control of a five-year-old. It’ll be a miracle if they survive…

  17. FFS! Why didn’t I ever think of the Distraction Grenade!? That’s brilliant.

    I once (foolishly) attempted to pick up a book at B&N with my three year old and my six month old. My three year old spotted a Hercules display and began to scream, “I need the Percules sword! I need the Percules sword now! NEED KILL EVERYONE WIF THE PERCULES SWORD NOW!”

    I headed toward the exit (without the book) with a screaming, sobbing three year old tucked under one arm and a now screaming infant in a car seat draped over the other arm. I had to pass through a group of four incredibly disdainful teenage girls who were blocking the aisle. So I stopped in the middle of them, looked each one in the eye, then said, “Birth control is your friend. Use it.” and walked off into the sunset with my shrieking children.

    I like to think that my demon monkey PSA prevented a few surprise pregnancies.

  18. I need that body armor. My 2yo has head-butted my nose/forehead region so many times, I’m 100% positive he’s broken something. I’m waiting until he’s 4, then going to the doctor and demanding a CT,then that they fix me. But no point going now. And since 3 is still on the horizon….

    On the plus side, at least for my daughter, 4 has been so. Much. Better. She still has tantrums, but she usually can calm herself down. Except when she’s over-tired and has epic meltdowns in the car because dammit, we’re playing the wrong CD! But overall, 4 is light years better than 3 was. There’s also the possibility that time has beaten us down and we’re better at ignoring it all now.

  19. *checks ceiling lamps for secret spy cams* When were you at my house, Chuck?!? Because between my 2.5yo and my 4 and a bit-yo you’ve nailed my life. Bandaids are the bane of my life! My 4yo is such the drama queen, each stubbed toe is a broken leg if she’s to be believed. Right, I think it’s time for another appointment with Dave….

  20. At 3 my son threw himself backward onto my sleeping face & broke my nose. I swear I spent most of that year looking like I went 5 rounds with Randy Savage.

    He had no sense of danger either. At a childrens museum, he spun a captains wheel (in his defense it was set up to spin so fast you couldnt see the knobs) & then walked into it, tearing his eyelid, removing all his eyelashes & his eyebrow hairs on his right eye. Luckily, the bone around the eye is the thickest bone in the human body, or he’d look like a pirate (his favorite thing to be at 3) for real.

    The threes should come with a hazard label.

  21. This was hilarious. However, it doesn’t get any better at almost 6. No, we have so much drama over stuff that I sometimes think she is secretly recording a reality show. At least she starts full time school next week 🙂

  22. 1. I have coffee in my sinuses from laugh-drinking
    2. I have been slapping my child in the forehead and screaming “THE POWER OF CHRIST COMPELS YOU!” pretty much since she crowned and it has done NO GOOD!
    3. The other day I heard her singing, “Dollars, dollars, d-d-d-dollars,” and then something about a dance emergency.

  23. Also, when I was pregnant with the middle demon, my husband and i were sitting on the bed doing something on his computer. The eldest walked up and bit his toe which surprised him so much he yanked his leg away and kneed me in the eye. Pregnant and with a black eye. Those were a classy few weeks for Rebecca.

  24. Hilarious! Thank you for exposing the lie!

    We were also burned by this deception with our first child, who is now five and is still trying to destroy us, but in a more calculated way. Our second offspring just turned two, and we are in lockdown in a fallout shelter for the next few years.

  25. I recognise every single one of these. Well except for the concept of any further sex in our future as that might have a very outside chance of creating another demon monkey.

  26. I LOVE my teenagers! I would NOT want to go back to this for anything! Dead on, Chuck, as always. Had me rolling almost out of my chair. Where were you 15 years ago? 🙂

  27. By the looks of things, my 3 year old absorbed all the goodness that your progenies were supposed to have. I’m sorry. So very sorry. She has been the kind of easy-breezy that puts me on the top of parents’ hit lists. Eats anything put in front of her, goes to sleep right away, does as told, very polite, she tidies her room and makes her bed unasked(!)…

    Though, four is right around the corner and she seems to have started getting with the program. Maybe someone sneaked her the Mokey-Demon How-To manual. These days we’re rolling in on the number 4 count with ‘you need a hug and kiss so you can be happy’ followed by a sudden and very unexpected meltdown where she flops down and cries like she had a case of wine and lost the imaginary friends that lives under her bed in some freak accident. The sort of soul-twisting cry that you have to take seriously because there’s real sorrow in that noise and you don’t know why cause SHE WAS JUST TALKING ABOUT UNICORNS AND PUPPIES!?

    She’s also acutely into death. ‘If I fall I’ll crack my head open and bleed out and DIE. Right?’ ‘That car drives fast. They’ll swerve and crash and their arms will fall off and they’ll bleed and DIE. Right mum?’

    • Mine middle girl was like this at three. She woke up on the morning of her fourth birthday saying she was having a day off being good. We’re still waiting 10 years later for the good girl to come back.

      Naming the horrid version of your hell monkey helps. We’ve got Annatroll and Hellanora. Makes the demon side seem more friendly, cute and cuddly.

  28. Just wanted to let you know that this post has made me a lot less maudlin about that menopause thing. Well, this post and Dave.

  29. I agree. The 3s were much much worse than the 2s with all three of my kids. And the cycle seemed to repeat itself every 3 years as well. 6s were rough. 9s were rough. 12s saw a change but it settled down faster.

    My oldest is 15 now (boys…learning to drive) and I’d do almost anything to have her 3 again. Enjoy it while it lasts. 🙂

  30. You’re about 3 years behind me in the years of having a child… So… I can go use the time machine from #13 and go back about 3 years in the past to read this to myself? I totally needed it back then. What do you mean space-time continuum? Fuck that. I don’t care. I need to restore some sanity loss from the evil babbling of my own grotesque-tongued cacodemon.

    PS: Thanks for the laughs. Now my co-workers at the new Day job think I’m even more cracked than before.

  31. Dearest Chuck – Hate to break it to you, but you have to get the three-year-old under control and in AWE of you. You WILL see this behavior again, but it will be in the form of a thirteen-year-old…much harder to catch with tranq darts. My credentials you ask? 34 years working with kids; mother; grandmother; pediatric speech-pathologist; former special educator and former high school administrator. Either find a sturdy box and mail him somewhere far, far away or wrestle him into submission now. Good luck!

    • Um, might want to check the ip address on this one. I think B-Dub’s learned to type.

      He’s leveled up. His mind game skills have gone nuclear.

      And he’s just respawned behind you.

      • Yeah, that comment made me laugh. Good luck getting a three year old under control. The only parents I’ve seen do that all the time were abusive ones. You gotta roll with it, make sure they’re fed and arrange your schedule around the nap. The nap rules… literally. It rules your entire life.

  32. wait. my kid is turning two in sept and i’ve already had that me or you off the balcony moment.
    YOU MEAN TO TELL ME THAT THIS IS JUST THE PROLOGUE???? I HAVEN’T HIT CHAPTER 2 YET???

    FMEELLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL

    this post was the best thing in the history of parental posts.

  33. Hah, this post is right at the apt moment. I needed that laugh! Thanks sir!
    Currently, 3-year-old is in the final stages of potty-training. He wears underwear all the time (even all night!) with only occasional accidents. All that’s left is the Dreaded Pooping in the Potty. This evening brought us another deeeeelightful episode of screaming-toddler-on-the-potty while mommy holds him comfortingly and wishes he would just let the poop out already!! With a encore performance of pooping in the bathtub as soon as mommy’s eyes are off him!

    Parenthood needs a warning-label for grossness. I never realized how much a part of my daily life and conversations poop would become. I certainly never dreamed I might talk to strangers on the internet about it! 😛

  34. Best parenting article I have ever read! Threes were the worst with both my kids. My son decided on his third birthday that he was a big boy, no more diapers! But he refused to use the potty unless it was his idea. It was never his idea until after he peed or pooped all over something.

    My daughter used to say she was busy when she was getting into trouble. Try cleaning a 4 foot square of Desitin and baby powder mixed into a paste off your wood floors and all four limbs of your child. Desitin was made NOT to wash off and when you mix it with baby powder it becomes like cement.

    The three year old tantrums were so bad I remember gripping my steering wheel because I really thought I might lose control of the car.

    My kids are 6 and 10 and it’s easier in many ways, but harder in others. I just did a one hour workout over the course of two hours because they interrupted me like 50 times.

  35. Now I recall why we looked at each wound with serious eyes and said “you are going to die”… served me well, when i had a real emergency, if I (or their father) said those magic words, they knew it was nothing to get all worried about.
    All lawyers should work with a 5 year old, they could find a loop hole in your contract with Satan (if you sold you soul to get through the earlier years).
    Thank you for posting your experiences.

  36. Haha – loved this! The bit about toddlers in the air vents was brilliant!
    Put a smile on my face and set me up for the day – but then I can laugh about it as I don’t have kids – yet.

  37. Duct tape here in Finland is called jeesusteippi, “Jesus tape”, as it rescues everything. I’m not kidding, it’s a very commonly used term for it.

  38. Oh. My. God. I have tears streaming from my eyes (and, okay I’ll be honest, maybe a little snot leaking from my nose) AND I almost peed my pants (okay, I’ll be honest, maybe I *did* pee my pants) after reading this incredibly hilarious and astute screed!!! Oh, holy shit, dude…. you totally nailed it!

    Seriously, I don’t know if it’s like a generational thing or what, like maybe for our parents it really was the Terrible Twos they had to worry about, but YES — for us it was most definitely the Therrible Threes!!!

    Thank you SO MUCH for the guffaw, you have made my day so much brighter 😉 Although now I can’t stop snickering and my eyes keep leaking. Ahhh, good times. Just, thank goodness my own monkey-demon (although he’s six now, and really like the best kid ever) wasn’t here to hear me as I cackled and wheezed, “oh, shit!” while I read this, because he’d want to know what I was laughing at and wouldn’t stop asking until he broke me and I finally told him “it’s Wendig, okay?! I can’t help it!! It’s WENDIG, for chrissakes!!!” So, there is that.

  39. Chuck, You say all this now, but in 20 years, when all your brain cells have been eaten away by the insanity of your offspring, you’ll wax nostalgic about how cute your demon monkey was. You’ll wonder where the time went. And then you’ll see your car gone from your driveway, and you wonder when you gave your kid the car keys. You didn’t, but that’s beside the point. And because you have no brain cells left you won’t care. Take it from a woman who raised four demon monkeys.

  40. Coulda used one of these kits when my kids were little. Nowadays I just watch my grandchildren bamboozling their parents and consider it fair recompense. And I laaaaugh and laaaaugh.

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